Heavy snow shuts schools across Turkey
Turkish Airlines cancel more than 200 flights as storm hits
Heavy snow across Turkey caused the closure of schools in more than a third of Turkey’s 81 provinces on Thursday, local officials said.
Authorities in 32 provinces, mostly in northern Turkey but also extending into central Anatolia, said schools had been shut and roads affected.
Turkish Airlines announced that some flights from Istanbul’s Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen airports had been cancelled due to the bad weather.
The national flag carrier said 242 domestic and international flights were canceled from Istanbul’s Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen airports on Thursday and Friday due to heavy snow.
While privately run Pegasus Airlines canceled 38 flights, another airline company Onur Air canceled 13, leading certain passengers to find themselves stranded at the airport.
Dmytro Rozhkov, who is traveling from Dubai to the Ukrainian city of Odessa with his wife and 8-year-old son, said he has been waiting for eight hours in Ataturk Airport.
Another passenger, Patricia Ozoekwe Nwsotule from Nigeria, said that she was planning to spend New Year's Eve with her family in Barcelona.
“I think I will enter the new year in Istanbul. I have been waiting at the Ataturk Airport for around 12 hours,” she said.
As heavy snowfall paralyzed life in Istanbul, the city is struggling with bad weather conditions.
Traffic was affected in many areas, as Istanbul’s Disaster Coordination Center (AKOM) said in a statement that accidents increased in the city after the heavy snowfall.
The snowfall led to the closure for a few hours on the main highway to Istanbul near the industrial Dilovasi district of Turkey’s northwestern Kocaeli province where at least 13 cars collided.
One person died at the scene and at least 31 others were injured, of which one was in critical condition.
According to AKOM, at least 73 accidents have occurred in Istanbul since the beginning of the snowfall Wednesday.
Another multi-car collision accident occurred on the TEM highway in Istanbul’s western district of Silivri, where both lines were closed due to heavy snow, AKOM said.
Certain ferryboat services in Istanbul were also affected by the snow.
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